A busy weekend for Ireland’s underage sides saw the Under-18 and Under-16 selections play five high level fixtures in Santander, Breda and Bremen, taking on Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium
Andy Smyth says the fear factor that may have previously existed for Irish underage teams has diminished markedly off the back of the national senior team’s ability to mix it with the world’s top ten.
Ireland’s Under-16 boys and girls play a couple of high quality tournaments in Breda, the Netherlands and Bremaen, Germany, respectively where they will meet the cream of their continental rivals.
Ireland produced a superb performance to defeat Poland 7-0 in the final of the EuroHockey Youth Championships II in Mori, Italy to add a gold medal to the promotion already won.
Five first half goals saw Ireland win for a second successive game in the Under-18 Europeans to all but put them through to the semi-finals of the competition.
In the first game of their EuroHockey campaign in Mori in northern Italy, Ireland Under-18 Girls beat Czech Republic 2-1 with goals from Sally Campbell and Zara Malseed in the second half.
The Irish Under-18 girls completed their warm-up to the Eurohockey Youth Championships in Mori with a 5-0 win over hosts Italy with Ellie Noone scoring twice while Zoe Wilson, Zara Malseed and Sally Campbell were also on the mark.
Multi-talented twins Michelle and Niamh Carey are among eight Leinster players to be named as part of the Irish Under-16 panel for a Six National tournament in Bremen, Germany in late July.
Andy Smyth has named a panel of 18 players for the Under-18 boys European championships in Santander from July 19 to 25.
Seven Leinster and one South East players have been named in Graeme Fracney’s Ireland Under-18 side for this summer’s European Championship II in Italy in July.
Six Leinster players were to the fore as the Irish Under-18 girls ran up three wins over Scotland and another over Wales over half-term as part of their preparations for the European championships in July in Italy.
The Irish Under-21 men produced a string of high scoring performances before ultimately winning the EuroHockey Junior Championships II with a dramatic late show against Italy; here’s all the goals from the tournament from camera man Wal McConnell
Mixed emotions for the Irish Under-21 women but, ultimately, primary objective achieved as they got the draw they needed to earn a top two spot in Vienna. Gold, though, was tantalisingly out of reach as they built a three-goal lead only to be pegged back by a last quarter Italian fightback.
Ireland were unable to break down a resolute Ukraine defence but, nonetheless, nudged themselves a step closer to claiming promotion to the A division of Under-21 European hockey while, should they beat Italy tomorrow, the gold medal is still up for grabs.
The Irish U-21 men left it late but ultimately won gold at the EuroHockey Junior Championships II in Lousada, Portugal by beating Scotland 3-1 with two goals in the last two minutes.
Ireland’s Under-21 men moved within a point of promotion to the top tier of European Junior hockey as they swept aside Italy 9-2 in Portugal.
With progression assured, Ireland’s Under-21 men needed victory to get their promotion pool up and running with three points for a win but they came up against a feisty hosting Portugal side who snatched a late draw.
Coach David Passmore praised his side’s ability to dig deep as Ireland twice came from behind to grab the draw they needed to progress to the winner’s pool in the women’s EuroHockey Junior Championships II and now have a two in three chance of promotion to the top tier.
Ireland’s Under-21 men are through to play in the final four promotion group in Lousada, Portugal as they bounced back from a sticky first half to run out big winners for the second day running.
Chloe Brown’s hat trick has put Ireland in a strong position to progress to the promotion pool as they eventually broke down a defensive-minded Lithuania in their opening European tie in Vienna.